Cuticle! That I like! And hi, lh! I’ll add some finger-food for thought.
Ever since coming across them many years ago, either in the Theogony of Hesiod or one of the pseudo-Homeric/Hesiodic fragments published with the Works and Days and Theogony in the Loeb volume, I’ve been fascinated by the Idaean Dactyls (from Greek Δάκτυλοι, fingers), probably because little is known of them and they’re so strange, even by Greek mythological standards. The Dactyls were an “archaic mythical race of small phallic male beings associated with the Great Mother, whether as Cybele or Rhea. Their numbers vary, but often they were ten spirit-men so like the three Curetes, the Cabiri or the Korybantes that they were often interchangeable. The Dactyls were both ancient smiths and healing magicians. In some myths, they are in Hephaestus’ employ, and they taught metalworking, mathematics, and the alphabet to humans.” (From Wikipedia).
The Idaean Dactyls, in particular, lived around Mount Ida in Phrygia and “invented the art of working metals into usable shapes with fire.” But here’s a fascinating tale I never knew until today. Again I use the wiki as my source.
One of the Idaean Dactyls named Herakles (perhaps the earliest embodiment of that hero) originated the Olympic Games by instigating a race among his four “finger” brothers. This Herakles was the “thumb”; his brothers were Aeonius (forefinger), Epimedes (middle finger), Jasius (ring finger/healing finger), and Idas (little finger). Meanwhile one of the three Cretan Dactyls, Iasion, was equally busy. Attending the wedding celebrations of Cadmus and Harmony (Harmonia) he was spotted by the Mother of the Gods, Demeter, who took an instant fancy to him. Luring him away from the other guests she led him to a freshly-ploughed field, lay down on her back and invited him to do the business, which Iasion happily did, one of the twin sons conceived being Ploutos, the God of Wealth (now that’s the kind of son to make a father happy!). Returning to the festivities, Zeus, who didn’t miss much, especially in the area of a woman’s arse, noticed that Demeter’s was covered in mud. Envious, Jove instantly reached for a thunderbolt and before poor Iasion knew what hit him he was twinkling up in the heavens as one of the Gemini (according to some accounts. In most the Gemini are,of course, Helen’’s brothers, Castor and Pollux, with Iasion being, one assumes, a small pile of ash.)
Herakles, the Olympic Games, Demeter’s arse, I told you the Dactyls were fascinating! Ah well. just thought I’d share.